Effective October 1, 2020, the Maryland Secretary of State will include cannabis products and cannabis services among those entitled to Maryland trademark and service mark registration. The Maryland General Assembly passed legislation this year to create this expansion. Federal trademark protection under the Lanham Act is still prohibited for cannabis, so what does this mean for Maryland medical cannabis businesses?
Trademark registration is not required to enable a cannabis company to sue for trademark infringement under Maryland law. By using a mark, name, or design in commerce, the owner of the mark is entitled to pursue a claim for infringement against anyone who uses the mark after the original owner if it is likely to create confusion in consumers.